Apr 11, 2019

Israeli spacecraft set for historic moon landing

The moon, seen by the Beresheet lander from about 310 miles above. Photo: SpaceIL and IAI

Israel's uncrewed Beresheet lander is flying ever closer to its moon landing on Thursday.

Why it matters: The landing, if successful, will mark the first time a privately-built spacecraft has touched down on the lunar surface. The moon has historically been the domain of wealthy nations like the U.S., China and Russia, but today's landing could prove that space is open to more people than just a chosen few.

  • Beresheet's mission is centered around inspiring Israeli children with the promise of spaceflight and innovation, according to SpaceIL, the non-profit behind the lander.

Details: SpaceIL originally conceived of the project as part of the Google Lunar X Prize, a contest designed to bolster the space economy with $30 million in prize money. That competition ended without a winner in 2018, but SpaceIL continued its mission, launching Beresheet to the moon aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in February.

  • If the landing succeeds, the X Prize Foundation has decided that it will award SpaceIL $1 million, even though the X Prize contest itself is over.

What to watch: Beresheet is expected to touch down on the moon at 3:25 p.m. ET. SpaceIL will broadcast a live feed of the control room during the landing on YouTube starting at 2:45 p.m. ET.

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Sanders to Putin: You won't interfere in any more elections if I'm president

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Sen. Bernie Sanders sent a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the debate stage Tuesday, stating, "If I'm president of the United States, trust me, you're not going to interfere in any more American elections."

The big picture: It was unveiled last week that Russia has been interfering to boost Sanders' campaigns in an apparent attempt to strengthen President Trump's bid for reelection. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that "Vladimir Putin thinks that Donald Trump should be president of the United States, and that's why Russia is helping [Sanders] get elected.

Debate night: Candidates' last face-off before Super Tuesday

Sanders, Biden, Klobuchar and Steyer in South Carolina on Feb. 25. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders wants to keep his momentum after winning New Hampshire and Nevada, while former Vice President Joe Biden hopes to keep his own campaign alive. The other five candidates are just trying to hang on.

What's happening: Seven contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination are in Charleston, South Carolina, for the tenth debate, just days before the South Carolina primary and a week before Super Tuesday.

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